Agnès Sorel's recumbent figure in Loches and its little secrets

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The recumbent statue - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA The recumbent statue - ©Anecdotrip.com / CC-BY-NC-SA
Saint-Ours church in Loches Collegiate church Agnès Sorel

Agnès' death

Agnès died in Mesnil-sous-Jumièges manor. They buried her heart in Jumièges abbey while her body moved to Loches. There, king Charles VII gave her a grave made of black marble, with a white marble recumbent figure, two lambs at her feet to echo her name and her sweetness.

An anecdote says that king Louis XI was in Loches church, standing in front of Agnès’ grave. Canons came to moan, about this grave which was too big and bothered the Mass. Remove it, please!! yelled the canons. Louis was OK, but… on condition that they gave back all the money and jewels Agnès gave them, to fit out her grave! Monks said nothing...

Teeth and ashen hairs

A first opening happened in 1777. What did we find? 3 coffins, an oak one, a leaden one, a cedar one, this last one with Agnès’ last remains inside, mixed with aromatic herbs. We have the lower jaw and long braided hairs. Black hairs with ashen parts: yes, as time flies, they became blond...

They put ashes in an urn and then in a brand new grave in one of the lateral chapels. Until the French Revolution, no worries. But in 1793, the grave was damaged and the bones scattered: Philippe Charlier in his book Médecin des morts, récits de paléopathologie says that in 1777 noble people from Loches used Agnès’ teeth as prosthesis!

Rest in peace, Agnès!

So, they remade another new grave few years later, and delicately put her bones inside, to exhibit it in Loches royal castle. The grave had several epitaphs, like this one: Je suis Agnès, vive France et amour ! Which means "I’m Agnès, long live France and love". Nowadays, we have this sentence all around the recumbent statue:

Ci-gît noble damoiselle Agnès Seurelle, en son vivant dame de Beauté, de Roquesserie, d'Issoudun et de Vernon-sur-Seine, piteulse envers toutes gens et qui largement donnait de son bien aux églises et aux pauvres, laquelle trépassa le neuvième jour de février, l'an de grâce mil quatre cents quarante-neuf. Priez Dieu pour l'âme d'elle.

("Here rest miss Agnès Seurelle, lady of Beauté, of Roquesserie, of Issoudun and of Vernon-sur-Seine, who was very generous and gave a lot to churches and to the poor. She died on February 9th 1449. Pray God for her soul.")

Her grave moved in the collegiate church in 2005. After lots of adventures, Agnès finally rests in peace!


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